The man is hot property but, as with all big stars, we long to know what he is really like. Now, I'm not one to kiss and tell. And, you know, I naturally abhor gossip. I'm no James Hewitt. And yet, well, all right, you've twisted by arm. Listen to this . . .
Two years ago, I was asked to interview Tarantino. I'd seen Reservoir Dogs at Cannes that year, and knew this was a hot ticket. I got the call, grabbed my tape recorder and rushed to a seedy pub near Horse Guards to meet, gulp, Quentin Tarantino.
Tarantino is a tall, hulking man. Back then, he wore dirty tennis shoes and untucked long shirts. Keanu he's not: his face is an amalgam of huge cheekbones, lantern jaw, high forehead, low brow and a boxer's nose.
Happily, my half-hour interview was a breeze. He has a puppy-like enthusiasm for movies - and the ability to talk the hind leg off a mule. He even had a bit of my candy bar. And we laughed a lot in ridiculous exchanges, like: 'This is your time.' 'No, this is your time.' 'No, it's your time and my time.' 'It's our time.'
Then Tarantino asked me if I wanted to go out, as he didn't know that many people in town. In shock, I agreed. As he took my number, I remember thinking, 'Yeah, yeah, I'll hear from you when hell freezes over, buddy.' No artist has dinner with a journalist unless the scribe can help them in some way. Me? A stupid little freelance who loved his film? What could I do for him?
Yeah, okay, I was naive. Listening to the tape again, I now notice a few flirtatious moments. 'I'm not interested in sports, academics, cars, women - okay, aside from that - it's just movies.' But that's what interviews are like. You flirt. You get your quotes. You go home.
Tarantino called the same night - to the squeals of my flatmate, who said, 'I've got a good feeling about him. I bet he's a nice guy.'
We agreed to meet the following night at his hotel off Oxford Street.
After keeping me waiting in the lobby for an hour - I couldn't phone his room because the line was engaged - Tarantino finally ambled down the stairs. He's really bloody tall and broad. Kind of scary, actually. But one big smile and several hundred kind words put me at my ease immediately.
I was starved. But no dinner just yet. First, we had to rish to the Lumiere cinema in St Martin's Lane. 'I want to see the trailer for Dogs,' he promised. 'Then we'll eat.' Two seats were reserved - natch - in the middle of a packed prime row. We thrashed our way to the seats, saw the trailer and squirmed back, stepping on the thicket of innocent moviegoers.
After wandering all over Covent Garden, we ended up at a nondescript bistro.
Famished, I fell upon my steak and frites while Tarantino talked of his life. How his mother named him after a Burt Reynolds television character.
How he didn't really have a father and how Harvey Keitel filled that role in Dogs. How his granny was an alcoholic. How his grandfather sold liquor in a dry county, 'but not like Robert Mitchum in Thunder Road'.
Everything Tarantino talks about relates to movies. Everything. It's fun for a while but it does wear thin. Of course, the man is an obsessive. That's how he does what he does. And yet no one ever made me long for a library like Tarantino. Movies are terrific but they ain't worth the world. I yearned for him to talk about something else.
'Do you want to see a movie?' Tarantino asked. 'How about Bitter Moon?'
Well, I was on the set of Bitter Moon and had seen it twice, but okay. It was showing at a grimy little cinema off Piccadilly.
We were the only people there - apart from some geezer in the back. And I'm not sure if he was dead or alive.
Sure enough, moves were made. This surprised me. Aren't films Tarantino's life? I remember saying: 'Behave yourself] This is Polanski] He's a master]'
Why would a man who loved movies so much want to bug me during a screening?
The biggest disappointment was that if movies and girls were of equal importance in Tarantino's life, girls seemed to have the edge just then.
Afterwards, we went back to his hotel for drinks. The conversation was dying rapidly. I had two Cokes and caught a cab home. Outside of my flatmate calling the hotel to see if I was okay (it was 3am), nothing else happened.
Although I did go home with the feeling that I had disappointed him.
Yeah, I went on a date with Quentin Tarantino. He's a great guy, really.
Funny, talkative, charming. To tell you the truth, I loved hanging out with him. And that's what hurts the most. He's never called me since.Reuse content